navigating the hurdles of THE hybrid workplace
Numbers in the News
A Wall Street Journal article in May cited an Ernst & Young global survey of more than 16,000 employees, in which “90% said they wanted flexibility in when and where they work post-pandemic. More than half said they would consider quitting their jobs if they didn’t have that flexibility.”
A Catalyst survey of more than 7,400 global workers, cited by Bizwomen in June, found that “women caring for children are 32% less likely to say they intend to leave their jobs if they are able to work remotely, compared to women with the same childcare responsibilities but no access to remote work.”
Listen to your People
Building mutual trust and respect between managers and workers, as well as within teams, is essential. It not only allows hybrid systems to function successfully, but also becomes a perk for all sides. Leaders can trust that work will get done in a timely manner and workers are liberated from feeling scrutinized and monitored.
- One size does not fit all. There’s no blueprint for flexibility that will work for every organization. Ask employees what they need and what they want—and listen.
- Listen empathetically. When leaders are genuinely empathetic to life situations, such as the burden of finding and affording childcare, supporting ailing parents, or managing long commutes, workers know they’re respected. Getting creative with logistics can help retain talented employees, earning loyalty and appreciation while preserving institutional knowledge.
- Communicate clearly. Get buy-in from all team members when creating a hybrid schedule and communicate it clearly in advance, so everyone sets out with the same expectations.
- Be flexible about flexibility. It’s new. Some things an organization tries will fail. When they do, get feedback and try something else.
Be Strategic About Schedules
Determining which employees come into the office on which days is an obvious task in building out a hybrid schedule, but may warrant more thought than expected. Before even thinking about days of the week, pause to decide who will make that choice—workers or their managers.
Rethink your Space
Hybrid models can significantly reduce costs as long as the use of physical space is efficient. Start with thoughtful scheduling to avoid overcrowding on certain days and empty rooms on others, but also consider changes to office design. Maybe cubicles make way for more meeting rooms, personalized stations become communal desks, or blank walls in collaborative spaces get dressed with screens to circle up with remote colleagues. For many, a little remodeling might beat letting go of the lease.
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